BOSASSO, Somalia (Reuters) - Somali pirates have hijacked a vessel carrying livestock off the shores of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, a local official said.
The vessel was sailing from Bosasso in Somalia and to the United Arab Emirates, Hassan Farah Jamac, Puntland’s commerce and industry minister told Reuters late on Thursday.
“It was carrying a lot of goats from Bosasso,” Jamac said. “We are very sorry about that. Our forces are now preparing to rescue the boat with the help of the foreign navies.”
He gave no details of the number of crew nor their nationalities.
Somali pirate gangs, who can stay out at sea for long periods using captured merchant vessels as mother ships, make tens of millions of dollars in ransoms from seizing ships off the lawless country’s waters.
Their use of mother ships has allowed them to venture out as far as the waters off India’s coast and Mozambique and, unlike in the past, they can keep sailing even in rough waves during the ongoing monsoon season.
Crude oil tankers sailing in the east and northeast of the Gulf of Aden have been particularly targeted.
An International Maritime Bureau report released on Thursday said despite the increase of attacks off Somalia and other areas, successful hijackings were down, in large part due to massive patrolling by naval fleets.
But it said the pirates, who use machineguns, grenade launchers and other weapons, had become more violent.